Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Pleasanton, CA

  • Published 2022/12/12

The vibrant City of Pleasanton lies at Alameda County, in California.

The city is well-known for its convenient location and pleasant climate for most of the year.

Before Pleasanton came into existence in the 1850s, pioneering settlers established a town in the area called Alisal in 1844.

“The Most Desperate Town in the West,” Alisal, was a haven and sanctuary for bandits and desperados after the start of the California Gold Rush near La Vereda del Monte.

Former Alameda County judge John W. Kottinger dedicated the city after his friend Major General Alfred Pleasonton of the Union army cavalry.

The present spelling appears to be the result of a clerical error in Washington, D.C.

Today Pleasanton beckons you into its rich history, allure, and natural beauty.

Pleasanton has several parks and open areas where tourists may engage in diverse outdoor activities, such as boating, swimming, fishing, and hiking.

If you’re thinking of the best things to do in this city, here’s a guide to the top Pleasanton attractions:

Appreciate the Granizo Tile Art Mural

View of the colorful Granizo Tile Art Mural

meunierd /

In 1994, as part of the “Pleasanton Centennial” celebrations, the city commissioned Granizo to create a public art installation that depicted the area’s rich history via the lens of a photograph.

Three diagonally-placed rectangular “stelae” make up this project.

The three columns create a single mural when viewed from any of the pillars’ sides.

Details of the Granizo Tile Art Mural

meunierd /

The area’s history, culture, agriculture, filmmaking, and commerce in the murals are all shown from four different angles.

Given that it was Granizo’s final effort, this piece has a special place in his oeuvre.

View of the Granizo Tile Art Mural

meunierd /

Granizo fought cancer during the development and execution of this project, and he passed away not long after the city dedicated it as a tribute to him.

His family comes here regularly, and they recall his final days, sitting down and watching the murals’ installation.

Stroll Around Alviso Adobe Community Park

Alviso Adobe Community Park, considered a Historical Landmark in California, is a seven-acre interpretative park created around an 1854 adobe home built by Francisco Alviso and used until 1969.

Alviso Adobe is a remarkable early American adobe that has in its original 1920s furnishings.

The park lies between Old Foothill Road and Foothill Road and

It contains a historical reproduction of the Meadowlark Dairy, an activity area, and informative displays about Ohlone culture.

Explore the City’s History at the Museum on Main

Exterior of the Museum on Main

FASTILY, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This museum is a Smithsonian outreach program that records and exhibits the history of the Tri-Valley region, from Native American occupation to modern-day life.

The structure that houses this museum, established in 1914, was once the Old Town Hall and the Police Department.

You may also find here Pleasanton’s first free library.

There are a variety of permanent and touring exhibitions at the museum that emphasize local history and legacy, including the customs, sports, and food.

Explore its 500 to 800-square feet exhibits, including multimedia components such as video projections, interactive elements, and real-world artifacts on display.

Chill at Mavericks Country Lounge

Do you want to get out with friends and listen to some excellent country music?

Mavericks Country Lounge in Pleasanton is the best place to go if you want to be satisfied.

In addition to a full-service bar staffed by friendly mixologists, this high-energy lounge has excellent live country music as well as fun line-dancing lessons.

If you want to practice your bull-riding abilities, there’s even a mechanical bull to keep you entertained!

You may also watch sporting events on its large-screen televisions.

Picnic at Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreational Area

Aerial view of Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreational Area

Kit Leong /

Sunny days are ideal for getting out into nature and breathing in the fresh air.

Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreational Area is a great spot to spend a day outdoors with the family and participate in various activities.

The lake in this regional park was formerly a gravel mine.

The City of Pleasanton transformed the lake’s shoreline into a sandy beachfront, where visitors can relax and take in the scenery.

This 80-acre park has a variety of picnic spots and hiking routes.

Nearby lakes offer great opportunities for water sports, including fishing and boating.

The park has an informative center, and a small canteen opens during the summer months near the beach.

Take Photos at LumiNight Lantern Festival

From November to February, the city of Pleasanton brightens up with millions of LED lights.

The event treats you with a unique visual experience.

It’s an immersive festival of light where hundreds of large-scale internally lighted animals guide you through the dazzling display.

An array of visual tech entertainment features the newest LED and projection technologies and life-size lanterns handcrafted by Chinese craftsmen.

This walking safari will provide a safe, fun, exciting, and family-friendly event while entertaining and educating.

There are dinosaurs, the Great Barrier Reef, Chinese Zodiac animals, Noah’s Ark’s narrative, and extinct and endangered species as part of LumiNight.

Go Trekking at Augustin Bernal Park

Pond at Augustin Bernal Park

Oku at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Summer Bernal Park is an extensive 237-acre park located southwest of Pleasanton adjacent to Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park.

It offers a wide selection of outdoor activities and educational programs for all age groups and abilities.

As the park’s name suggests, Walter S. Johnson donated the property to the city in 1971.

The park took its name from Spanish settler Augustin Bernal, the first owner of the land where the site stands.

With paths leading to the summit and breathtaking views of the surrounding area, this park is a must-see for outdoor enthusiasts.

It also offers a glimpse into an increasingly rare California setting.

The park safeguards as the ridge’s vital piece and provides another link in the region’s “necklace of green,” which almost surrounds San Francisco Bay.

Create Your Own Teddy at Build-A-Bear Workshop

Build-A-Bear is a globally recognized, one-of-a-kind brand beloved by children and parents alike.

There’s another one in Pleasanton that you can visit with your children.

Build-a-Bear allows you to design your very own plush animal from start to finish.

Choose your favorite stuffed animal and add your personal touches by adding fragrances, noises, and plenty of fluff.

It stimulates your kid’s different senses during the experience.

To begin, choose an animal for your stuffed creation.

A wide range of options is available to include superheroes, Frozen, and Star Wars bears, as well as other character-themed bears.

There is also always a seasonal teddy bear collection available.

Also, there are a plethora of teddy bears to choose from, each with a unique texture and color.

You can also assign scent and sound to your bears.

You may record your voice or select from a variety of available scents and noises.

Stuff your bear once you’ve chosen all of your components.

When you make a bear at Build-a-Bear, you can control how much fluff goes into it using a big fluff machine.

Hand or foot pedals are also available here.

Your child may be able to use this in various ways, depending on their skills.

Try Rubino Estates Winery’s Local Wines

Fountain at Rubino Estates Winery

Elena Rastaturina /

A visit to Rubino Estates Winery, located in a lovely location with a view of the magnificent Livermore Valley, is a must for anybody seeking to spend the day sipping wine and taking in the tranquil surroundings.

Among the wines produced at the winery are Chardonnay, Trebbiano, and Cabernet Sauvignon, which have won awards in California and Italy.

It is possible to taste them in the tasting room on the premises, or you can have a delicious meal in the deli.

If you prefer to have your lunch outside, the lovely grounds are ideal for a picnic.

The winery and its grounds are open to the public on scheduled tours.

Watch Live Performances at Firehouse Arts Center

At the 20,000-square feet Firehouse Theater, you can see anything from music to poetry readings to plays and films.

Dramatic world-class programming and an ultramodern setting combine to create a memorable evening.

This cultural arts facility has a theater with 221 seats, a 2,000-square-foot performance space, and other amenities in the Galleria of Fine Arts.

Its hourglass-shaped grand foyer connects Pleasanton’s downtown core with the facility’s 3,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

The Firehouse Arts Center’s goal is to get people involved in arts-related recreational activities.

For instance, a thriving youth theater program gives young people the opportunity to take lessons, rehearse, and perform.

Professionals in the theater teach, direct, and create these extracurricular events.

Theatrical productions, art displays, and workshops of various types can help students improve their abilities and offer lifelong memories.

Firehouse Arts Center in Pleasanton acts as an attractive beacon, reinforcing the community’s image and position as a magnificent piece of art.

Try Horseracing at Alameda County Fairgrounds

Ferris Wheel at Alameda County Fair

PKKoala /

Pleasanton has 270 acres of land dedicated to holding the yearly Alameda County Fair and other trade exhibitions and community activities.

The fairgrounds have been there since 1912.

This racetrack, founded in 1858, is America’s oldest one-mile horse racing track and part of the Alameda County Fairgrounds.

Horse parade at Alameda Country Fair

Irene Wang /

Amador Pavilion, an arena and livestock event facility, a 3,000-seat open-air theater, and a 9-hole golf course are all on the grounds.

The Heritage House, constructed on the fairgrounds site around 1905, is also located on the grounds.

It also features a model train display on the site since 1959.

The Alameda County Central Railroad Society maintains the said display.

The grounds of Alameda Country Fairground

Uladzik Kryhin /

Buy Local Produce From Pleasanton Farmer’s Market

Shoppers at the Pleasanton Farmer's Market

Pedro Xing, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

At the Pleasanton Farmers Market, you’ll find fresh fruits and vegetables from across the Bay Area, as well as meat, fish, eggs, and artisanal goods from the neighboring Central Valley, which is known as “the fruit basket of America.”

Tourists will like the small-town feel as families go about their shopping while taking in the sights and sounds of downtown Pleasanton.

Alternatively, you might put up a lovely meal of rotisserie chicken with fresh bread and fruit such as peaches, olives, and pie and take it to the neighboring park for a great view while picnicking.

The prices are affordable, and there’s a nice mix of regular suppliers and new ones that come in on a seasonal basis to keep things interesting.

Keep an eye out for fresh strawberries when they are in season, as well as stone fruit and the freshly made salsa available adjacent to the knife sharpening stand.

Jog at Patelco Sports Complex

Trail at Patelco Sports Complex

pauline22 /

If you’re in the area and want to do a morning run or some sporting activities, check out Patelco Sports Complex.

This facility that’s open 24/7 is also ideal for night owls who prefer to stay active in the evening.

The Patelco Sports Complex’s three new turf fields are Pleasanton’s only lit, synthetic turf fields, making them open for the whole year when grass-seeded fields are inaccessible due to weather.

What makes this site unique is it’s ecologically friendly since turf fields do not require irrigation.

Each season, the complex becomes jam-packed with thousands of audience and participants during lacrosse, football, rugby, baseball, and soccer competitions.

One field includes covered, concrete seating in stadium-style.

The rest of the complex also features field-seating, parking, bathrooms, picnic areas, a playground, and illuminated paths.

Climb the Trail Towards Tehan Falls

This trek offers a variety of scenery, including views of the city, open hillsides, and valleys dotted with oak trees.

On this out-and-back path, you trek through undulating slopes, going uphill and downwards.

The trail to the Tehan Falls is quite strenuous, and it is only suitable for the fittest and most daring of hikers.

By the time you reach the falls, you’ll need trekking sticks and maybe ropes because loose gravel that might quickly give way underfoot cover the ground.

Even though a week passed after heavy rain, the Falls only trickled down a mossy cliff.

The light flow is excellent for detecting animals and animal trails.

It also features predatory wildlife swooping overhead, as well as plenty of birds frolicking around the grasslands.

Explore Downtown Pleasanton

Entryway of Downtown Pleasanton

FASTILY, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In the late afternoon or evening, Pleasanton’s downtown district is a lovely, tranquil spot to wander about

Hunt for the ideal present or addition to your home décor on one of the many window-shopping opportunities on Main Street.

Sip a coffee, enjoy a meal in one of its charming cafés, or visit the galleries to see local artwork.

You may wander down or relax while listening to the creek’s soothing sounds as it runs through the region.

Every Wednesday between spring and summer, the downtown area transforms into a bustling street party featuring food trucks, stalls selling knickknacks, and live music.

Buildings at Downtown Pleasanton

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Take a Look around the Ruby Hill Winery

Exterior of Ruby Hill Winery

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In 1885, John Crellin turned a hill of red clay into a vineyard and designated it as Ruby Hill in honor of the property’s abundant red soils.

Ruby Hill Winery was among the biggest and most renowned wineries in the Livermore Valley by 1889.

Eleven grape varieties, including Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and many others, are presently grown in their 150-acre vineyard.

The family-run Ruby Hill Winery welcomes visitors to their roomy tasting room, where staff will lead you through an enjoyable and in-depth wine-tasting tour.

Enjoy shopping at one of the best places in the Livermore Valley for wine, gourmet deli supplies, wine accessories, and clothing.

Discover everything you need for a memorable day at Ruby Hill Winery!

Share a Pizza with your Buddies at Gay 90’s Pizza Company

One of the earliest buildings operated for business operations in the community, this 1864 structure was formerly home to a local store, a bar, and a Wells Fargo stagecoach station and is presently used by the Gay 90’s Pizza Company.

Craving for a whole pizza to share?

Satisfy your taste buds and try out one of their delicious pizza with tasty toppings created by pizza experts featuring sauce-serving talents.

Browse their menu or pizzas from scratch and are renowned for their unique sourdough pizzas.

Gay 90’s Pizza Company has earned the Tri-Valley Herald’s Best Pizza award every year since 1997 and has also been recognized by the National Restaurant Association.

Go ahead and explore Gay 90’s Pizza to learn more about what they offer!

Shop and Dine at Stoneridge Shopping Center

Interior of Stoneridge Shopping Center

FASTILY, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Add shopping to your list of activities for the day!

Pleasanton, California’s Stoneridge Shopping Center is a posh big-box mall that opened its doors in 1980.

Explore items at the mall’s anchors: JCPenney and two Macy’s stores.

If you’re starving after a long shopping session, dine at the two independent restaurants, Cheesecake Factory and P. F. Chang’s China Bistro, next to the shopping center.

Spend the day shopping for items to purchase, gifts to take home, and food to re-energize for a full day of fun!

Test Your Skills at Callippe Preserve Golf Course

Callippe Preserve is a distinctive and noteworthy course that debuted on November 11, 2005, near Pleasanton, a short distance from San Jose or San Francisco.

Every hole at Callippe Preserve aims to be a trademark hole.

Players on this Brian Costello-designed course will have a taste of the difficult framework to the 10th hole as they make their way to the first green.

The front nine of the course travels through a valley, while the back nine is situated at a steeper angle, with the Happy Valley Creek meandering through it.

This creates a variety of terrain throughout the entire course.

The 13th hole on the layout will probably be their most exciting par three.

Explore Your Creative Side at Créatif

Créatif is claimed to be the future of the Art Studio Experience, where Creativity and Technologies combine!

They are committed to providing visitors with an effective, comprehensive, and unforgettable art experience inspired by the award-winning Art Studio design.

This includes modern, fresh, and innovative designs and a wide range of art activities for children and adults.

Walk-Ins are accepted all day for their distinctive DIY art experience.

You can decorate your favorite item from their wide assortment of canvas, ceramic, rock, unpolished wood, and pottery trinkets.

Join Créatif’s art classes or their interactive, instructor-led painting programs.

Celebrate your Special Event with one-of-a-kind paint parties and art-inspired birthday events full of creativity and excitement.

Final Thoughts

Pleasanton is a great place for outdoor activities because of the pleasant weather and abundance of local and regional parks.

Meanwhile, its interior attractions are just as good, making it a complete package.

Even though this small town is rapidly growing, it will make you feel secure and comfortable wherever you go.

Visit Pleasanton, and you’re in for a treat!

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